China steps up its battle with heavy-metal polluters

March 23, 2012

China closed most of its lead-acid battery plants last year, and it vows to continue fighting heavy-metal pollution.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said it checked nearly 2,000 lead-acid battery enterprises in 2011 and 81 percent of them were shut down for not meeting environmental standards, leaving only 315 in operation.

"The crackdown has made the industry upgrade its production techniques for better pollution prevention," said Zhou Shengxian, minister of environmental protection, at a national video and teleconference on Tuesday.

"Although less than 20 percent of companies remained, the total productivity has reached 190 million kilowatt-hours, exceeding that of 2010."

Nine cases of lead poisoning were reported from January to August last year.